I got an IUD placed in late April 2018. The day after it was placed, my hair started falling out in handfuls. I remember this and thinking, “hmm, could this be related to my IUD?” My daughter was born February 7th, so I expected some post partum hair loss. What I didn’t expect was to lose enough hair to fill a quart sized bag in two weeks. And then I would go on to lose enough for another quart sized bag. My OBGYN told me it was fully a coincidence. There was “no way” my hair loss was related to my IUD. So…I trusted him. I had been through postpartum hair loss before with my son, but this was… this was something more. It had to be.
Not long after having the IUD placed, my daughter stopped sleeping through the night. From week three to month four, she slept all night long. Then miraculously she stopped and woke 8-10x per night until she was over a year old. Maybe it was the fourth month sleep regression, but maybe my hormones were playing a role. She was and still is breastfed. Due to the lack of sleep, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, specifically postpartum rage. I was ANGRY all the time. I fully understood shaken baby syndrome and how caregivers can just snap in an instant and make a devastating decision. I googled what would happen if I just abandoned her (and the rest of my family) and went to live alone. I hated my daughter from the hours of 10:00pm-8:00am. HATED. I contemplated some very dark things. My mind took me to places that I didn’t know existed. Thoughts that will make me cry if I give them too much headspace now. I was open with my husband and we agreed I needed some help.
(If you are feeling this way and have not reached out for help, I cannot urge you to do that more. Reach out to ANYONE who will listen. And if they don’t, reach out to someone else. Do not go through this alone.)
I talked to my amazing NP, and she really listened. Then she prescribed me sertraline (I think) at the lowest dose, at least from what I can recall. I’ve never taken any sort of antidepressant before, but I learned about SSRI’s when I got my degree in psychology so I understood how it was supposed to work and help me. It took away a tiny smidge of the rage and anger, but I felt drunk. I would take it around 9:00-10:00pm and the hangover would last until 2:00-3:00pm the following day. I took it so late since my anger and rage was mostly at night from being woken up so many times. My husband was also waking up, so don’t go hatin’ on him, ha! My body didn’t respond well to a pump, and he didn’t lactate so I was mostly in charge. I had a dull headache the entire time I was on the medication, and I am not someone who EVER gets headaches. I tried them for a few weeks, but I could not handle the side effects! I was exhausted beyond belief and just could not function. I had horrible brain fog. So let’s fix rage and anger with a headache, extreme exhaustion (worse than a baby waking me 8-10x per night) and then not be able to think. So under advisement, I tried half a dose. Same results. With approval from my NP we decided the medication just was not going to work for me. I do not recall trying a second medication, but I may have. We decided a more natural route may work better for my body.
At this time, I was ready to try anything to not feel the way I felt. I’ve been through postpartum hormonal shifts before; I had a son three years prior! I know having another child only compounds issues, but this was just so drastically different. I reached out to a friend who used and taught about essential oils. I asked her if she had something that could help me. She brought me a blend of oils called “Joy” from Young Living Essential Oils. She told me to put a drop or two over my heart each day, and when I felt like I needed some extra help and to make sure and inhale some deep breaths when I put it on. Joy is basically happiness in a bottle. It smells beautiful and when you smell it, you actually start to feel happy. I know that sounds bat-shit crazy. I do. But…guess who started to feel more like herself?! (hint…it’s me). Not long after trying this oil, I decided to buy a starter kit from Young Living. Peace and Calming blend also became a favorite. My husband would remind me to use them in the middle of the night before I went into my daughter’s room. These oils helped me so much that I just couldn’t even believe it. I started telling anyone who would listen about the oils.
This isn’t about oils though…this is about my IUD. And I still had it. My hair was still shedding at a drastic rate (I know I lost 40% of my hair at least), which was not helping with my mood and confidence. I was not losing the baby weight as I had before. I was always cranky. My daughter still was not sleeping. I left that bastard inside my body for a little over a year. Of course I called my OBGYN and told him about my symptoms. Of course I asked if this could be related. Of course I thought even though they assured me it was not connected, that really it was.
I finally had enough and in June 2019 I had it removed. By the time I got back to my car after removal, I felt more like myself. I found a Facebook group that was full of women like me who had awful side effects from their IUD. I knew I could not be the only one, and as it turns out, I’m not. If you relate to any of this that I’ve said above, know you are not alone. Advocate for yourself and do not stop until you get answers. I am so happy to be back to myself. It has been out for a year now, and I have found natural things to support my hormones, and as long as I’m consistent – my body is supported and happy. I notice if I forget my oils for a day or two.
I’m so glad I began listening to my body. It was telling me, YELLING AT ME that something was not right and it did not approve. I just did not listen early enough. I have plenty of beautiful, profound and loving memories of this time with my daughter in her first year, but I also have horrible memories of whisper yelling at her in her room that she was terrible and I didn’t like her at all. I unfortunately get to live with both of those memories. Listen to your body, I’m sure it is screaming something at you – and it’s time you pay attention.
I use essential oils and supplements from Young Living Essential Oils. Because of my experience with these products, I decided to become a distributor and have a business with Young Living. If you find yourself with questions about oils and need someone to help, I would love to be your person. You can comment below to connect with me, find me on Facebook or Instagram, or simply use this link and then I will contact you via email.
***I am not a medical professional. This is simply my experience and my story. I am not recommending that you do anything, other than know yourself, your body and what works for you. I’m happy to share specifically what I use on myself that works, but cannot in any way guarantee that you will experience the same results. Always seek the advice of your doctor or medical professional. My PA is very supportive of what I do and knows which oils and supplements I use. If your doctor is not supportive of natural products – find a new one.